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There's a pleasant community nestled in the hills and dells of Northwest Arkansas. For decades, this affordable retirement utopia attracted middle-income retirees from near and far; it now attracts young families. Once Bella Vista was a private community, its amenities accessible only to POA members and their guests. There was value to being a property owner and member of the POA. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

Tom Judson convinced the board the answer to Bella Vista's woes was to open up the amenities to the world, they are all "guests of the POA" (GOTPOA). No longer does a guest need a POA Member "sponsor." Anyone from Gateway to Goshen can show up and have the same access as a POA member. This has devalued the benefit of property ownership and POA membership.

Let's crunch some numbers. The owner of an "unimproved lot" pays $192/year for the privilege of having member access to Bella Vista's amenities, and an "improved lot" pays $288/year. Homes on two lots, pay $480/year, and those with more lots pay more. POA members are paying a minimum of $192/year just to have access to the amenities; then we are charged a variety of fees to actually use the amenities. If a GOTPOA wants to play golf, tennis, use the pools or fitness centers, there's no upfront "surcharge."

Using my own situation as an illustration, I own a home on two lots, and I pay $480/year. To play golf with a photo ID, I'm charged $41/round; and with a member card, I pay $46/round. John Q. Public can play the same courses for $50/round. Let's say we both play 20 rounds annually. I will pay either $820, or $920 for those rounds, while John Q. pays $1,000. But, when the annual property fees are factored in, I will pay $1,300 or $1,400 respectively. That is 30 to 40 percent more than a GOTPOA for the same 20 rounds of golf. This disparity between members and GOTPOA is applicable across the board on all amenities. A GOTPOA can use a fitness center 96 times, play 80 two-hour sets of tennis, or he can visit the pools an astonishing 160 times, before reaching the $480 I pay before I walk in the door.

Being a GOTPOA is the bargain of the century. This should be of concern to all members of the POA, young and old alike. The young mother wanting to take her two kids to the pool, pays the same "surcharge" for access that is not paid by the GOTPOA from Pea Ridge. GOTPOA diminishes the value of property ownership. "Why buy the cow, if you can get the milk for free?"

GOTPOA's should pay much higher fees than members. Also, there needs to be a two-tiered fee schedule for guests, a "member guest" should pay a lower fee than GOTPOAs.

Bill King

Bella Vista

Editorial on 09/12/2018

Print Headline: POA members pay more than non-members

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